By Delia Lavender

I do not own the T.V. series L.O.S.T, Jack Shepherd, John Locke, Kate Austin or

any other character mentioned in the following story. I write only for fun.

He didn't know if he could live with the guilt.

From the moment he had opened his eyes, he had known.

Only the year had changed. And they were still on the Island.

But this time Juliet and Sayid were dead, Hurley and Miles

infuriated...and Kate...

Kate was gone. She had left again. Pursuing James, trying to

"offer comfort".

And what about himself? What about "Dr. Jack"? Back at the beginning,

taking care of the injured.

Only this time, he was no longer the leader. No longer the man

people trusted - that people relied upon. He was just another worker.

In charge of bandaids and boo boos. Locke owned the Island now...

And John Locke was not himself. Locke had always been fierce,

but he had possessed a gentle side. Somehow, gradually, it

had been subdued. This new Locke - this unfamiliar Locke - had

no such weakness.

Jack wasn't sure, but he suspected that Locke had ordered the

slaughter of the 316 castaways. There appeared to be only one

survivor - a young woman Locke had taken for himself.

The Locke Jack remembered would never have done such a thing.

Jack, alone in the hut that served as his office, shifted

uncomfortably on his narrow cot. It was very hot. The

sweat was pouring off him. He couldn't sleep. He could never

sleep anymore.

He wondered when he'd get Locke's woman in triage. He wondered

how many of Richard's people would show up tomorrow, requiring

first-aid and medication he no longer had.

He was out of everything. He might as well boil tree bark for

aspirin...he might as well sacrifice chickens and become a

witch doctor.

He might as well slit his wrists with his scalpel.

Except it didn't work...he'd already tried. He remembered

waking up, his arms throbbing, to find Harper standing over him.

"It won't work, Jack," she had told him gravely "It never works...

not as long as the Island wants you alive. I've already bandaged

you up, and I've left you some orange juice. Try to rest."

She had closed the door softly as she left.

And he had healed. Faster than he had any right to. Like the

other people whom the Island wanted.

But the healing didn't take away the pain. The healing proceeded,

but the pain continued. He still had pain in his wrists although

the cuts had healed...

The cuts had healed leaving no scars, yet he could still feel each


Another of the Island's jokes.

"The pain doesn't matter," Richard had told him, shortly after the

scalpel episode "You can still move your hands, yes? You can still

help other people. The pain will go away - someday. You'll see.

The Island is a marvelous place."

Richard was almost Jack's friend, now. One of the few people who

still spoke to him of ordinary things. Such as James and Kate...

"Don't worry about James, Jack. He'll adjust. Kate hunted him

down to the caves last week, so he was forced to move on. One of

my people saw him later, up in a tree. He was throwing coconuts

down on Kate, who was climbing up after him. Only one coconut

hit her, though, so she wasn't injured."

Oh, Jack had thought, if only she had been injured. The Others

would have brought her back to him...

But Kate was gone forever and his heart was broken.

The Others laughed at him - when they weren't cursing him. Now

he was known all over the Island as "Jughead's Jackass". And,

except for allowing him to bandage their wounds, the women

refused his touch.

He was so lonely. It was so hot. He was so lonely.

Alone on his cot, Jack Shepherd wept.